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December 07, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-12-07

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A

OPINION

Page 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Friday, December 7, 1984

The Michigan Daily

Fueling the Salvadoran fire

Vol. XCV, No.76

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

By John Laherty
The present U.S. policy concerning El
Salvador is beginning to show itself to be no
more than a fuel with which to feed the fire.
The large amount of U.S. military assistance

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
The CIA deserves more
than a wrist--slapping

sent to El Salvador in the form of weapons
and advisors only serves .to nourish and
prolong the Salvadoran civil war. This is a
war that the citizens of El Salvador, the
peasants, laborers, teachers, religious
leaders - the overwhelming majority of the
population - pray will soon end. The people
want peace and stability, yet their pleas fall
upon deaf ears. Instead of receiving political,
economic, and social reforms, El Salvador is
only obtaining more war.
Central America is a subject which has the
American people very anxious. The Vietnam
War has not yet been forgotten, and analogies
are becoming increasingly easy to draw. The
claim that the United States is attempting to
"preserve democracy" is a bit too idealistic
for the times, especially since the present
Salvadoran government is no more than a
repressive military-oligarchy. It is time for a
change in plans. It is time to aid in the
development of peace, instead of the con-
tinuation of war.
THE PRESENT negotiations are at a stan-
dstill. The Salvadoran state under President
Jose Napoleon Duarte has, as recently
reported in the New York Times, "repeatedly
rejected altering the Constitution, giving the
rebels a direct share of political power or
restructuring the army." This attitude has
met with understandable hostility from the
rebel forces. Salvador Samayoa, a leading
rebel official, was quoted as saying that
Duarte's terms were "definitely not accep-
table." Certainly, very few people would feel
that this "all take and no give" attitude of
the Salvadoran government is conducive to a
peaceful settlement.

Perhaps now is the time for the United
States to make a sincere effort to settle the
conflict. For, until the present repressive
Salvadoran state agrees to reform, the
possibility of peace through negotiations
simply does not exist. With Reagan's ad-
ministration solidly backing Duarte's regime,
the Salvadoran government feels no need to
alter its unfair policies. If the United States
government sincerely hopes to "preserve
democracy" in Central America, a
democracy must first be created. America
must "convince" the Salvadoran state to
reform and give the common people a chance
to enter the decision making process. If this
"convincing" includes the threat of discon-"
tinued military aid, so be it. Only when the
rebels feel that Duarte and company are
giving, as well as taking, will there be a chan-
ce for successful negotiations between the two,
factions.
It seems that the moment of truth has
arrived. If the United States feels so strongly
that it becomes involved in another countr$s
civil war, it should certainly aid in finding o
solution to the conflict. Washington claims to
be doing all that it can to rectify the problem,
yet military aid to the Salvadoran gove-
nment has already proved itself to be.(Al*
fallacious answer. Meanwhile, the people. of
El Salvador live in constant fear and
repression. Thanks in a large part to (h4
United States, the war continues to b
waged.

T he House Intelligence Commit-
tee offered little insight or over-
sight Wednesday when they
concluded a two-month investigation of
a CIA manual which advocated kid-
napping, blackmailing, and
neutralizing selected Nicaraguan
government officials. The committee
found that the CIA guerrilla manual
did indeed violate the law by instruc-
ting rebels on how to overthrown the
Sandinista government. Wow. Anyone
who read the manual could have
determined that. The committee
should have recommended specific ac-
tions to prevent future violations of the
law. And in this fundamental duty the
committee failed.
When the manual came out in mid-
October, the chairman of the House In-
telligence Committee, Edward Boland,
said the document was: "repugnant to
a nation that condemns such acts by
others. It embraces the Communist
revolutionary tactics that the United
States is pledged to defeat throughout
the world." And, thus, the committee's
investigation was launched. But what
has it accomplished? Very little, if
anything.
Two months and much red tape
later, Boland notes: "At least 7 or 8
times in the manual, there is a
reference to overthrowing the San-
dinistas. It was the opinion of the vast
majority of the committee that there
was a violation of the Boland Amen-
dment." So the CIA violated a 1982 law,
proposed by Boland, which forbids
American personnel from par-
ticipating in any effort to overthrow

the Nicaraguan government. So what.
The law carries no penalities and the
CIA can produce more manuals,
violate more laws, and continue to ad-
vocate murder-all with the tacit ap-
proval of the U.S. government.
There were a few "mid-level" agen-
cy officials reprimanded like small
children for doing wrong. The punish-
ments were endorsed by President
Reagan, advocated by the CIA's in-
spector general and Boland agreed
that the inspector general's report was
"a fair one". But what kind of a
message does this send to CIA Director
William Casey and other agency of-
ficials who originally suggested that
such an instructional guerilla manual
was needed? It sends an unsatisfactory
message which will not prevent the
CIA from doing what it has done in the
past: break moral and American law.
One member of the House committee
suggested that its findings be turned
over to the Justice Department for fur-
ther investigative action. That, at least
would have been an attempt to do more
than complain about the CIA violation
and insure that it doesn't happen in the
future.
Director Casey's pledge to make
managerial changes within the agency
shouldn't convince anyone that the
problem has been solved. The problem
is one of sizeable proportions:
How far should the United States go to
push democracy on other nations?
There needs to be a serious
reevaluation as to whether American
ends are truly justified by the odius
means utilized by the CIA.

Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte
has shown a lack of willingness to com-
promise with the rebel opposition.

Laherty is afreshman in LSA.

Sinclair

01

I

Uq

!^

Christmas trimmings

I.

For many Americans it's the
Christmas tree-trimming season.
For many Washington officials it's
budget-trimming season. To halve the
projected $200 billion federal deficit,
President Ronald Reagan now finds
himself with axe in hand ready to chop,
chop, chop. No one would argue that
the deficit needs to come down, but
Wednesday's budget trimming
proposals come down heavy on
domestic programs whichhserve the
poor and are purposely unclear on
defense spending.
Although the president is momen-
tarily hanging onto his campaign
pledges that he will not raise taxes,
decrease defense spending, or do away
with Social Security cost of living in-
creases, few other programs are being
spared the axe. The White House has
said that it would seek few reductions
in programs for the needy, but on the
hit list are plans to eliminate the cost of
living adjustments in food stamps,
child nutrition programs, legal ser-
vices aid to poor and Supplemen-
tal Security Income for the needy
aged, blind, and disabled. These
programs all cater to a constituency
that can ill afford losing these gover-
nment services.
In addition, the administration seeks

to cut Aid to Families with Dependent
Children, . the primary welfare
program, along with deep reductions
in funding for Medicaid, which provides
medical* assistance to the indigent.
Many of Detroit's residents will feel the
effects if reductions in these programs
pass Congress next January or
February. University students will
find it increasingly difficult to get
government financial aid, as the
president proposes to freeze 1986
programs at 1985 levels.
Of most concern, however, is that
not enough is being trimmed from the
defense budget. Reagan has shied
away from Budget Director David
Stockman's proposals to cut the Pen-
tagon budget. And Defense Secretary
Caspar Weinberger is expected to ask
for another 15 percent defense spen-
ding increase this year. Some ad-
ministration officials hint that $8
billion could be cut from the defense
budget, but this number has not been
formalized, nor is it sufficient con-
sidering the drastic cuts in domestic
spending.
The president may not wish to go
against his campaign promise to avoid
a tax increase, but poor Americans
shouldn't be held hostage to an effec-
tive campaign slogan.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Only individuals make the dif

To the Daily :
I am writing in response to
Brian Leiter's article "Real
solutions lie far beyond charity"
(Daily, December 5) on the shor-
tcomings of charity in ending
hunger in the world. First, I want
to acknowledge Leiter's own deep
commitment to ending hunger.
His letter reveals his outrage and
frustration over our current
response to the problem, an
outrage and frustration which
are shared by many others. He
asserts, however, that the
charitable activities in which we
participate constitute a "sick
joke" in the face of the enormity
of the problem. I would like to
address this statement.
Leiter is correct when he says
that some people participate in
hunger-related charities out of
something other than their com-
mitment to end hunger: they may
do it to "look good", or as a way
to relieve their own feelings of
guilt. However, there are many
of us all over the world who par-

Leiter has also invalidated the
commitment of those who ex-
press their commitment to end
hunger through their par-
ticipation in charities.
Hunger is an extremely com-
plicated problem. There are now
agencies, some of which are
charities, that have taken on
various aspects of the problem:
sending food (Catholic Relief),
medicine (UNICEF), farming
technologies (Oxfam), com-
municating to our elected of-
ficials (Bread for the World), and
generating the commitment to
end hunger (The Hunger
Project). There are literally hun-
dreds of others. I assert that
participants in all of these deser-
ve our complete support and
acknowledgement for the work
that they do.
Leiter seems to believe that
only our government can make a
significant impact in ending
BLOOM COUNTY

world hunger, and he criticizes
our government's lack of com-
mitment in this area. We need to
remember that our government's
level of commitment is a direct
reflection of our own commit-
ment to end hunger. I request
that we all look at ourselves and
tell the truth about our own per-
sonal commitment to end world
hunger. It is this personal com-
mitment that will have the final

ference
say about whether or not people
are starving.
Leiter's frustration contes
from his belief that who we are
and what we do as individuals
doesn't make a difference;
assert that it is the only thing tla
will make a difference in ending
hunger and starvation in te
world.
-Jennifer Bowen
Decemb&r6

4

n
Letters and columns represent the opinions o
the individual author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the attitudes of the Daily. r

40

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